In his landmark majority opinion Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts ruled that U.S. citizens can be forced to pay a tax as a consequence of not buying health insurance.The chief justice came to the conclusion that the mandate was constitutional as a tax after finding that it was not, in fact, a legal “command” to buy health insurance.
“Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income,” he wrote.
While the chief justice deemed the mandate constitutional as a tax, he did point out that it would not be constitutional under the commerce clause, which allows the federal government to police interstate commerce.
The Constitution’s commerce clause does not allow the federal government to force people to participate in a particular economic activity, Roberts stated.
“The Commerce Clause is not a general licence to regulate an individual from cradle to grave, simply because they will engage in particular transactions,” Roberts wrote. “Any police power to regulate people, as such, as opposed to their activities, remains with the states.”
Watch the video below to find out the basics on the decision and what it means politically, going forward.
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